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Twitter Is Auctioning Office Items Like Espresso Machines, a Meat Slicer, and a Giant Neon Bird

Elon Musk’s Twitter is auctioning off items from its San Francisco headquarters, in a sad sign for the company.

Twitter bird logo on the San Franscisco office building
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Do you want to own a piece of history?

No, we’re not talking about Donald Trump’s weird NFTs. Twitter is auctioning off 631 different items from its San Francisco office, ranging from furniture and decor to massive espresso machines, kegerators, and a meat-and-cheese slicer.

People are already going nuts for the sales. A neon sculpture of Twitter’s bird logo has a bid of $34,000 as of Wednesday morning. The antique-looking wheel slicer is going for $7,000. Even less interesting things, like sets of whiteboard room dividers, are going for about $1,000 each. The auction, which was quietly launched on Tuesday, ends Wednesday at 10 a.m. P.T. (1 p.m. E.T.).

While the auction is, on its face, absurd, it also paints a pretty sad picture of what’s going on at Twitter. The sales include what looks like the entire office’s worth of furniture: break-room stools, desks, workstation setups, extra chairs for meetings, even soundproof conference room pods. And it’s all further proof of the utter chaos that seems to be raging at the online platform.

Since Elon Musk assumed the Twitter reins in October, it seems almost conservative to say that all hell has broken loose. He immediately fired the entire board of directors, followed by most of the staff. The rest have been leaving in droves, while those who remain have reportedly been living in their offices as they work around the clock.

Advertisers have shunned Twitter en masse, scared off by Musk’s lax regulations and willingness to let Nazis run amok on the platform. The Tesla founder was already hard-pressed to come up with the $44 billion he agreed to pay for Twitter, and he has been open about needing to cut costs and increase revenue any way possible. One method to do so has apparently been to stop paying rent on office space. The landlord of the San Francisco office sued Twitter for $136,260 in unpaid rent earlier this month.

Musk has also rolled out the pay-for-verification subscription plan Twitter Blue. The plan is highly controversial because anyone can pay for verification, and thus legitimacy, including the Taliban. Between taking the extremist group’s $8 and selling off everything in the San Francisco office, it seems Musk will go to a lot of lengths to make a buck.

A Lookback at Elon in 2022

George Santos Liked Using a Fake Jewish Name on GoFundMe Because “The Jews Will Give More”

Santos used the name “Anthony Zabrovsky” to better scam donors to his fake animal charity, according to his former roommate.

Representative George Santos smiles and walks, briefcase in hand.
Win McNamee/Getty Images

George Santos used to go by a Jewish last name to better scam donors to his made-up animal charity, according to a former acquaintance.

Gregory Morey-Parker, who said he and the New York representative were roommates for a few months, told CNN’s Anderson Cooper Tuesday that Santos had gone by Anthony Zabrovsky at the time.

“He would say, ‘Oh, well, the Jews will give more if you’re a Jew.’ And so that’s the name he used for his GoFundMes,” Morey-Parker said.

As we all know by now, Santos appears to have fabricated the bulk of his professional résumé. He also seems to have lied about his personal background, including that he is descended from Ukrainian Jews who fled the Holocaust. He has previously said his maternal grandparents changed their name from Zabrovsky to avoid persecution. Records indicate, though, that Santos’s grandparents were born in Brazil and that he has no Jewish heritage whatsoever.

Santos also claimed that he ran a nonprofit called Friends of Pets United, which worked on pet rescue (but seemed to hate cats). The IRS couldn’t find any records that the animal rescue charity Santos says he founded in 2013 held tax-exempt status, and neither the New York nor New Jersey attorney general’s office could find records of the organization being registered as a charity. CNN has found that Santos ran a GoFundMe campaign that no longer exists for a pet charity under the name “Anthony Zabrovsky.”

Santos has come under fire from both constituents and the Republican Jewish Coalition for making up Jewish ancestry (particularly with a Holocaust link) for clout. Pretending to be part of a community so you can get more money out of people is also deeply offensive.

The Republican congressman continues to defy logic and offend all sensibilities. He is facing multiple calls to resign, three ethics investigations, three criminal ones, and a fraud charge in Brazil, and yet he was still given committee assignments in the House of Representatives.

George Santos Stole $3,000 Raised for a Homeless Veteran’s Dying Dog

A new report says that Santos’s fake animal charity raised $3,000 on GoFundMe for a veteran’s dying service dog. Santos then took the money and disappeared.

Representative George Santos walks through a doorway, briefcase in hand. A staff member walks ahead of him.
Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

Every day, I wake up and think it can’t get worse for George Santos.

And every day, I’m proven wrong.

In May 2016, Santos allegedly raised $3,000 for a homeless and disabled veteran’s service dog, Sapphire, who was suffering from a life-threatening stomach tumor. After Santos (who went by Anthony Devolder at the time) closed the GoFundMe, he took the $3,000 and was never heard from again.

The revelations come from Rich Osthoff, the swindled veteran, who spoke with Long Island local outlet Patch.

Osthoff had been living in a tent in an abandoned chicken coop on the side of a New Jersey highway, alongside his dog, Sapphire, given to him by a veteran’s charity. After Osthoff visited animal veterinarians and learned about Sapphire’s tumor that would cost $3,000 to operate on, a veterinary technician helped connect him to “a guy who runs a pet charity” who could help.

That supposedly charitable man was Anthony Devolder—one of Santos’s former public identities—and the charity was “Friends of Pet United.”

The “charity” raised some $3,000 through GoFundMe. Osthoff recalled that after the fundraiser began, it became harder and harder to reach Santos. The now congressman had also led Osthoff along. In August, Santos had the vet tech drive Osthoff and Sapphire to a practice in Queens; Santos insisted they couldn’t use the New Jersey vet’s office and he had “credit” with the Queens one.

The veterinarian in Queens said Sapphire’s tumor was inoperable, something the New Jersey vet had not said. After the odd trip, Santos became even harder to reach. Finally, in November, Osthoff begged Santos to let him take Sapphire to another vet. “My dog is going to die because of god knows what,” he texted Santos.

“Sapphire is not a candidate for this surgery the funds are moved to the next animal in need,” Santos wrote back. Santos said he would take Sapphire himself elsewhere for an ultrasound but that Osthoff could not come and that it could not occur at the New Jersey office because they apparently wouldn’t accept the charity’s funding method.

Santos stopped responding after that, and the GoFundMe was gone. After all was said and done, Santos took the money and went with the wind.

A November 2016 Facebook post from Osthoff shows him declaring what happened. “To everyone who helped me and Sapphire raise the money for her surgery, I’m sorry to say that we were scammed by Anthony Devolder,” Osthoff wrote. “Sapphire has NOT received veterinary care, and her growth is 3 to 4 times bigger than it was when the campaign was fulfilled. She is facing euthanasia within months.”

Sapphire died two months later, on January 15, 2017. Osthoff told Patch that, after being out of work with a broken leg for over a year, he couldn’t even afford to euthanize and cremate Sapphire.

“I had to panhandle. It was one of the most degrading things I ever had to do,” he told Patch.

Read more at Patch.

Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema Literally High-Fived Over Their Refusal to End the Filibuster

The two senators, who have blocked bill after bill, high-fived at a panel at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

Screenshot/World Economic Forum

Senators Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin, both of whom have blocked crucial legislation, literally high-fived over their mutual belief in keeping the filibuster.

The two were speaking on a panel about U.S. foreign and domestic policy at the Davos World Economic Forum on Tuesday. Sinema argued that the current levels of partisanship in government are not “healthy for democracy,” and then Manchin asked if they still agreed on not getting rid of the filibuster.

“That’s correct,” Sinema said, and the pair high-fived.

The filibuster is a process used to block a bill’s passage in the Senate. Contrary to popular belief, the filibuster is not in the Constitution but is instead thought to have arisen from “tenuous precedents and informal practices,” according to the Center for American Progress. As of late, the filibuster has been used to essentially enforce minority rule. It takes 60 votes to end debate on a bill, so senators in the minority party can still block a bill’s passage through the filibuster. Since bills must pass the Senate before being signed into law, minority senators can force the majority party to agree to changes in the legislation before allowing a final vote.

Democrats have been trying for years to abolish or at least amend the filibuster, but there have been holdouts—notably Sinema and Manchin. The two senators have made names for themselves as perpetual thorns in Joe Biden’s side, blocking some of the president’s keystone legislation, such as the $2 trillion Build Back Better package aimed at tackling climate change and social welfare.

Manchin and Sinema have been accused of being more self-serving than public servants. West Virginia Senator Manchin voted against paid leave for rail union workers, backed fossil fuel initiatives such as the Mountain Valley natural gas pipeline, and fomented the ridiculous pro-gas stove frenzy.

Sinema, meanwhile, appears to have undergone an ideological 180 since coming to Capitol Hill, seemingly jettisoning the progressive beliefs she previously espoused. She went viral for voting with a flippant thumbs-down against increasing the minimum wage—despite previously being vocal in support of raising it. The Arizona Democratic Party censured her for opposing the removal of the filibuster and accused her of cozying up to wealthy donors instead of fighting for her own constituents.

She was already deeply unpopular across party lines in Arizona, and since switching from Democratic to independent in December, it has only gotten worse. A recent Morning Consult poll found that Sinema is one of the most unpopular senators in the entire country.

George Santos Gets Committee Assignments Despite Being Under Multiple Criminal Investigations

The Republican Party can’t afford to lose any more members, so they’re rewarding George Santos with two committee assignments.

Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

In this country, nobody wants to work (with George Santos). The New York representative had been hard-pressed to find a place to contribute his seasoned and experienced mind, but finally, it appears he’ll be finding a home on the Small Business Committee and the Science, Space, and Technology Committee—among the many areas of Santos’s expertise.

The news on Tuesday comes after uncertainty about whether Santos would have a spot on any committee at all. Last week, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy said Santos would not receive a spot on any key committee. Santos had hoped to gain a spot on the House Foreign Affairs Committee or the House Financial Services Committee, amazing preferences given the international and financial investigations Santos currently faces.

According to CNN correspondent Manu Raju, several Republican chairs indicated their unwillingness to have Santos on their committees. But Republicans also feared that if they denied Santos committee spots, it would set a precedent for any other members who may face public scrutiny even while they have not been charged with a crime. As in, Republicans were putting more weight on the possibility of future members being as brazenly dishonest than they are on the importance of not rewarding that dishonesty with committee spots. The kind of calculus only to be found in a very reasonable political party.

Again, Santos is facing criminal investigation both in Brazil for fraud and in the United States on the federal and county level into his finances and background. Republicans’ purported fears already don’t apply to the case at hand.

Moreover, they have already set a precedent for not seating members they deem unfit onto committees. In 2019, the House Republican Steering Committee elected to keep Republican Steve King off committees after he had asked in an interview with The New York Times how terms like “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” became “offensive.” So seating Santos in order to avoid setting bad precedent for their party in fact overturns the previous precedent they had set.

But the crux of all this is that Republicans have a narrow majority. When they did not seat King on any committees, they were in a 30-some-seat minority, so the stakes of punishing someone were low. But now Republicans cannot afford to lose any more members. And any move they would have made to further delegitimize Santos risked him resigning or being forced out. So their calculus is perhaps less concerned with future precedent and more with not punishing members when the Republican Party needs every last one of them. Santos may not have gotten on the committee he wanted, but political realities at least gave him something.

9/11 Denialist and Insurrectionist Marjorie Taylor Greene Assigned to Homeland Security Committee

The Georgia representative who pushes conspiracy theories on the 2020 election is now responsible for homeland security.

Marjorie Taylor Greene wears a mask that says "TRUMP WON." Her mask is below her nose and doesn't cover her whole mouth.
Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc/Getty Images

Nearly two years ago, the House, including 11 Republicans, voted to strip Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of her committee assignments just weeks into the Georgia freshman’s first term. The resolution followed Greene’s racist and antisemitic rhetoric; her parroting of conspiracy theories on the 2020 election, 9/11, and the 2018 Parkland shooting; and her repeated indications of support for fatal violence against Democrats.

Fast forward two years, Greene is now being elevated to the House Homeland Security Committee—despite having incited plenty of threats herself against the homeland.

Greene, a key provocateur of the rhetoric that led to the January 6 Capitol riot, had encouraged people in 2019 to “flood the Capitol” and resort to violence “if we have to.” Greene expressed support for executing Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton. After announcing her run for Congress, she posted an image on Facebook of herself holding a gun next to images of Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and Rashida Tlaib. “We need strong conservative Christians to go on the offense against these socialists who want to rip our country apart,” she wrote in the caption.

Insofar as Greene displays any “concern” for protecting the homeland, it nearly always consists of racist fearmongering and lies. “They want to conquer America, and we’re not going to do it,” Greene previously said about Muslims. “We don’t need gun control! We need Muslim control!” a 2018 comment read on Facebook. Greene liked it.

In 2018, Greene wrote a theory that California’s deadly wildfires were a result of space lasers possibly controlled by the Rothschild investment bank. Greene also called George Soros—a businessman, philanthropist, and notable Democratic donor—a “Nazi” and “a piece of crap that turned in his own people over to the Nazis.” Soros is a Holocaust survivor.

The Homeland Security Committee has jurisdiction over the border. House Republicans have said they aim to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas as part of their perennial focus on the border. Greene is one of 32 Republican co-sponsors of recently introduced articles of impeachment against Mayorkas. (The last and only time a Cabinet secretary was impeached was in 1876, when Secretary of War William Belknap was impeached by the House and subsequently acquitted by the Senate.)

All that is to say, beyond conducting impeachment hearings and trafficking conspiracy, it does not seem likely Greene’s new assignment will lead her to pursue much constructive policy to keep people safe.

Taliban Members Get “Verified” Blue Checks on Twitter Thanks to Elon’s Genius Idea

One Taliban member thanked Elon Musk for “making Twitter great again.”

NurPhoto/Getty Images

Members of the Taliban were able to temporarily subscribe to Twitter’s pay-for-verification feature, adding blue check marks to their accounts that appeared to confer a degree of legitimacy on the extremist regime.

At least two Taliban leaders and four prominent supporters were able to subscribe to Twitter Blue, the BBC reported Monday. They included Hedayatullah Hedayat, head of the Taliban’s department for “access to information”; Abdul Haq Hammad, head of the media watchdog at the Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture; and Muhammad Jalal, who praised Twitter owner Elon Musk for “making Twitter great again” after acquiring a blue check.

As of Tuesday, two of the officials mentioned in the BBC’s report had lost their blue checks. Neither Twitter nor Musk has publicly commented on why that happened.

“The main goal of the Taliban regime is to receive recognition,” Joseph Azam, board chair of the Afghan-American Foundation, told The New Republic. “For all of its current challenges, Twitter is considered to be a place where people are platformed. And so, for them to get verified would be a significant platforming of them and would give them some legitimacy that they haven’t been able to get through other more formal, historically relevant channels.”

“It puts them on par with other governments, in a way, which is what they want,” Azam said. “That matters. When you can’t get a seat at the U.N. … the next best thing are these informal channels.”

Musk unveiled plans for Twitter Blue shortly after his chaotic takeover of the platform in October, arguing it would help bring in revenue. Subscribers pay $8 a month for the blue verification check mark and, crucially, priority visibility on the platform. The subscription plan initially launched in November but was halted due to people verifying fake accounts to trick other users. Twitter Blue launched again in December, this time in earnest.

Experts have warned that Twitter Blue would increase the spread of misinformation. They have also said that Musk’s various plans, which included firing Twitter’s content moderators and rolling back disinformation policies, would allow hate speech and extremism to spread unfettered on the platform.

The Taliban receiving Twitter verification, even temporarily, is a chilling example of those warnings coming to bear. Twitter’s blue check mark, once highly coveted, still conveys a level of credibility and legitimacy to a bearer.

Unfortunately, Elon Musk–controlled Twitter has allowed Taliban officials to commit their violence through online discourse as well, where they offer false narratives about the situation in Afghanistan,” said Halema Wali, co-director of Afghans for a Better Tomorrow.

Azam explained that verifying Taliban accounts portrays them as “the one true source of information on Afghanistan.”

“Once that credence takes hold, what it does for everybody else is it makes their realities less relevant. It makes it harder for people who don’t agree with them and who don’t have the platform, or reach, to be heard.”

As the Taliban continues to tighten its grip on Afghanistan, including in a huge crackdown on women’s right to education and work, any degree of credibility given to it only strengthens its position on the global stage. Twitter verification, even temporary, further isolates the people still in the country.

“Afghans have run out of allies. They’ve run out of avenues for redress, they’ve run out of platforms, they’ve run out of ways to be heard,” Azam stressed. “The private sector and nongovernment, it’s actually one of the most important remaining tools that 40 million people in Afghanistan have. The governments have turned their back on Afghans. So the responsibility that companies like Twitter have … is to try to offset that, or not make the same mistake. And I think that’s the part of this that’s really disappointing.”

This post has been updated.

A Gun Trade Show Is Advertising the “JR-15,” an AR-15 Rifle for Kids

This, just weeks after a 6-year-old shot his teacher

Screenshot/Wee 1 Tactical Website

Just weeks after a 6-year-old shot his teacher, a gun trade show in Las Vegas is hosting a manufacturer promoting its “JR-15,” a child-size AR-15 rifle.

The JR-15 was first launched last year by gun manufacturer WEE1 Tactical. The launch sparked outrage as the company promoted the J.V. death machine with cartoon skulls and crossbones stylized as boys and girls. The presumed boy skull had a blonde mohawk and green pacifier, while the girl skull sported blonde pigtails and pink bows and a pink pacifier. Both cartoons had one eye patched with a rifle sight.

Screenshot/Wayback Machine

The company’s website from last year claimed that the JR-15, while smaller, “operates just like Mom and Dad’s gun.” The site also boasted “SWAG for Adults and Young Shooters” that matched the cartoonized promotional materials. “The BRAND is meant to be EDGY,” the site read.

Now, as WEE1 Tactical heads to the SHOT Show in Las Vegas, where the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in U.S. history took place, it is preparing to re-promote the same gateway gun with a more muted tone. The company’s latest flyer skips the “edgy” branding to focus more on the product specifications of the JR-15. One page is dedicated toward explaining the company’s “tamper resistant safety” switch that “requires strength and dexterity to release.”

Instead of lauding the gun as “just like Mom and Dad’s gun,” the company focuses on the “American Family Values” to be had by buying its gun, which helps “introduce young enthusiasts to the shooting sports.”

“WEE1 Tactical has adopted this supposedly kinder, gentler marketing approach because it knows from experience that most Americans are shocked and disgusted by the idea of manufacturing semiautomatic assault rifles designed for grade schoolers,” said Josh Sugarmann, executive director of the Violence Policy Center.

AR-15s or similar rifles were the primary weapons used in some of the deadliest mass shootings in recent American history: the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, the 2017 Las Vegas shooting, the 2017 Sutherland Springs church shooting, the 2018 Stoneman Douglas High School shooting, and the 2022 Robb Elementary School shooting.

Just among this handful of American shootings, three were at schools. Most might recoil at a gross push to get even more weapons into people’s hands, especially young people’s. (After all, there’s an estimated 120 guns for every 100 people in America.)

Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene, however, responded to the tragic Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde by suggesting they would have been safer with JR-15s.

Failed MAGA Republican Candidate Arrested in Shootings Targeting New Mexico Democrats

Solomon Peña refused to accept his election loss, and Albuquerque police have called him an “election denier.”


A failed MAGA Republican New Mexico legislative candidate, who refused to accept his election loss, was arrested for a series of shootings at the homes of local Democratic leaders.

Albuquerque police arrested Solomon Peña on Monday for conspiring with and paying four men to carry out shootings in recent weeks at the homes of two Bernalillo County commissioners and two state legislators. No one was injured in the attacks.

Police said they suspected Peña was angry that he lost his race for the state House of Representatives. Peña received a mere 26 percent of the votes to Democratic incumbent Miguel Garcia’s 76 percent, according to the New Mexico secretary of state’s office.

“He had complaints about his election he felt being rigged,” police spokesperson Gilbert Gallegos said at a press conference Monday evening. “As the mayor said, he was an election denier—he doesn’t want to accept the results of his election.”

Despite the not at all close race, Peña refused to concede, tweeting, “I dissent. I am the MAGA king,” the night of November 9. A few days later, when Donald Trump announced he was running for president again, Peña tweeted his support for the former leader and said he had not conceded his own race.

“Now researching my options,” he added ominously.

Peña embraced Trump’s election denialism, even appearing to attend the January 6, 2021, rally that turned into the insurrection, according to a photo he shared on Twitter. He repeatedly insisted that his own election was rigged. After the results were in, he approached three of the four targeted Democratic officials at their homes, claiming he had proof the election was fraudulent and arguing it should not be certified. The Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously to certify the election results.

Over the course of 2022, Peña also made almost two dozen donations to the Lyndon Larouche PAC, which was founded by far-right political activist and conspiracy theorist Lyndon LaRouche.

Albuquerque’s Democratic Mayor Tim Keller praised Peña’s arrest, urging city residents to “push back against hate in all forms and stop political violence.”

Peña is just the latest example of politically motivated attacks, particularly around the midterm elections. Election workers have seen a massive increase in threats and harassment since Trump refused to accept the 2020 election results. States ramped up protections for poll workers ahead of the midterms in November, especially after there were reports of armed self-appointed poll watchers showing up at ballot boxes.

And just weeks before the midterms, a man broke into Nancy Pelosi’s home in San Francisco and attacked her husband with a hammer.

Get Ready for Another Debt Ceiling Showdown

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress that the nation will hit the debt ceiling on January 19. But Republicans have promised to hold the debt ceiling hostage until they get what they want.

Kevin McCarthy smiles with a gavel in his hand
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Speaker Kevin McCarthy

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned Congress on Friday that the nation will hit the debt ceiling on Thursday, January 19. If lawmakers don’t suspend or raise the debt ceiling, Yellen wrote, there will be “irreparable harm” to the U.S. economy as well as global financial stability.

A breach of the debt ceiling could interrupt federal spending on things like Social Security, Medicare, or even just salaries of federal employees. It would also tank America’s credit rating.

Yellen said the Treasury will go to “extraordinary measures” to avoid default, giving lawmakers until early June to come up with a deal. These measures include redeeming existing and suspending new investments of the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund and suspending reinvestment in separate retirement savings funds for federal workers.

Now Republicans and Democrats have a limited time to negotiate on what happens next in order to prevent a global crisis. Unfortunately, the situation primarily offers no-win scenarios.

Kevin McCarthy promised to leverage the debt ceiling to cut spending in exchange for gaining the House speaker’s gavel. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has said there are no plans for such cuts, or negotiation at all on something that should be a bipartisan move to avoid crisis.

Worse, right-wing media is ratcheting up pressure on Republicans to leverage the debt ceiling for political demands, something that surely could push spineless Republicans to follow suit (even while it would harm their own base).

Democrats, tasked with advocating for good governance, are then stuck between holding the line and forcing Republicans’ hands to cooperate (risking potential national economic crisis if Republicans dig their heels in) and negotiating with them in order to avoid such disaster by potentially agreeing to cut essential social spending.

“What we’re creating is a showdown where Democrats are trying to show that the Republicans are being irresponsible, but the cost of proving that irresponsibility is an economic worldwide catastrophe,” Laura Blessing, senior fellow at Georgetown’s Government Affairs Institute, told The New Republic the last time this all happened.